Insurgents affecting Loktak Lake development

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Imphal, Jan 31 (ANI): Development of the Loktak Lake area of Manipur has been repeatedly affected by insurgent attacks. Militants recently damaged an excavator that was being used to clear Phumdis, or floating bio-mass in the lake.

On January 22, some armed miscreants blew up an excavator that was being used for removing Phumdis or water vegetation at Ningthoukhong in Bishnupur District.

Earlier on 14th January, a combined operation was executed by security forces to restrict militant activity in the Loktak Lake area. A soldier of 33 Assam Rifles was also killed during the operation.

According to sources, the bomb was an IED, which was planted inside the excavator. However, there were no casualties.

Sources said that armed miscreants placed the bomb to intimidate security forces posted in the area.

"It happens early in the morning. We could hear the explosion. But as it was dark and cold outside, we didn't take risk to go out and check. Later, we found out about the damage," said Bira, a local.

"Their main object was to attack security forces. Of course, they have done the damage but the damage wasn't upto the desired level for them. It was a desperate move. We have mobilized all our resources to prevent such happenings," said K. Jayanta Singh, Superintendent of Police, Bishenpur.

Since its inception, the activities of Loktak Development Authority have been severely hampered and interrupted by several militant organizations operating in the state.

To tackle the problem, from January 6, 2010, the work of the LDA has resumed once again after the state Government's decision to enforce stringent security measures in the area.

Excavators are being used to remove excess Phumdis from 132-lakh cubic meters of the lake.

"The lost is not only for LDA but for the whole state. Destroying of such costly machine is not right. The output in a year produced by the machine will be reduced. It shouldn't have happened," said KH. Ingocha Singh, Assistant Store Keeper, LDA.

Loktak Lake, which is the largest fresh water lake in the Northeast region, is under the risk of rampant growth of Phumdis.

In order to save the ecology of the lake, the task of removing these floating biomasses is taken up by Loktak Development Authority under the Special Plan Assistance Action plan of the Wetland International-South Asia and the Planning Commission.

A fund of Rs 378 crores is utilized for this assignment and the target years for accomplishment is three years. (ANI)

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